Saturday, 27 September 2008

620 - the good news

I have received the following information from Kevin Brock, one of the main campaigners to save the 620 bus route. Councillor Mark Aldred Labour Councillor for Atherleigh and Member of the Passenger Transport Authority has e-mailed him as follows:

At a recent meeting I managed to get the 620 back on on an hourly service
from Ashton town centre to Swan Lane Hindley for 9 months reviewed after 6 months. So let's hope everyone uses it so it continues.

This is excellent news for everybody who campaigned to keep this route alive and shows how people working together can change things.

We now need to run a Use it or Lose It campaign to make sure it does not disappear forever.

If anybody is interested in this please contact me.

Listening to members of the public

I received the following e-mail from a member of the public recently

Ashton's new traffic control system at the junction of Bolton Road, Gerard Street, Wigan Road and Princess Road can be quite misleading. The pedestrian hoping to cross from Bar Aqua to the pedestrian island will see two line of metal studs, at the end of which they will see an illuminated "Little Man". They might suppose that when he is green it is safe to go; but this is not the case. This is when traffic may flow across this crossing point. In fact, the only time that it is safe to cross is when traffic is flowing from Wigan Road. The chest-high "Little men" signs on the traffic light pillars do in fact quite rightly indicate this, but may be overlooked. How much better it would be if the former "Red and green men" situated at the top of the traffic light poles directly facing the crossing points were reinstated"

So I went to look for myself and he was right. I went to cross the road from the Bar Aqua thinking it was safe but in fact the red man was showing.

I have reported this to the Council and they have promised to rectify the matter.

Career options for young people

I thought this might be of use for any young person who is looking for a job at the present time.

For real choice in career opportunities, NOW is the time to choose local government.

That’s the message to young people from local authorities across the region.

Nine councils – including Wigan – have joined forces to launch NOWyoungpeople, a web-based showcase for the huge range of local government careers.

Unlike traditional careers advice, NOWyoungpeople is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at

The site features everything potential recruits need to know at the click of a mouse – including real life stories. It even groups together different roles into job ‘families’ to help young people discover what other roles might suit their skills and ambitions.

Petition presented to the Council

This press cutting is from this week's Wigan Evening Post and shows myself with Ian McCartney, representatives of local churches and local residents presenting the petition to curb lap dancing to Deputy Leader of the Council David Molyneux.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Campaign to curb lap dancing

Following the campaign launched by myself and Ian McCartney to curb lap dancing in local pubs, residents together with representatives of local churches presented the petition to the Deputy Leader Davd Molyneux last Friday. At the presentation we were delighted to learn that Wigan Council has written to the Home Secretary backing our campaign.

This campaign has certainly struck a chord with local residents and churches. We received fantastic support on our street stall in Ashton town centre and the religious organisations in the area have been extremely supportive.

Both myself and Ian would like to thank everybody who signed the petition and especially those who took petitions to be signed in their own neighbourhood, churches and organisations.

If you would like more detail about the campaign or would like to sign the petition please contact me.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Congestion charge - have your say

Wigan Council’s Cabinet on the 18th September approved arrangements for a referendum on Transport Innovation Fund (TIF) proposals.

The proposed package involves up to £3 billion investment in local transport and the introduction of a weekday, peak-time only congestion charge.

Results in the Greater Manchester-wide all postal referendum will be broken down authority by authority.

Ballot papers will be sent out in late November with a deadline for their return of 10pm on 11 December. Anyone on the electoral register, which is currently being updated, will be eligible to vote.

Each household must complete and return their annual electoral registration forms by Wednesday, November 5 to ensure they are on the updated register.

The Cabinet also welcomed the appointment of Sir Neil McIntosh CBE as returning officer for the referendum across Greater Manchester. Sir Neil served as electoral commissioner for Scotland from 2002 to January this year and played a lead role in overseeing the 1997 Scottish devolution referendum.

He will provide independent scrutiny and supervision of the Transport Innovation Fund referendum.

Wigan Council Leader Lord Smith said: “The size of the public transport investment being proposed and the method of paying for it make this one of the most important decisions for our borough in many years.

“Debate is vital, and that is why we’ve agreed to a county-wide referendum on December 11th. I’d encourage anyone who has not yet returned their registration form to do so as soon as possible so they can have their say.”

For any queries about electoral registration, residents should call Wigan Council’s elections office on 01942 827168 or e-mail

Ashton Forward Campaign - update

At the Regeneration Panel on Wednesday night it was announced that Wigan Council have consulted with partners and developed draft briefs for the feasibility and masterplan works for Ashton town centre.

The aims of the plan are to:

1.develop a clear vision for the town centre which has the support of key stakeholders and the local community

2. provide clear guidance to facilitate sustainable and high quality regeneration of the town centre

3. prepare a robust delivery strategy with projects that can be phased and realised within the overall vision of the town centre.

The beginning of the consultation is due to take place in October.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Who is Wigan Borough’s most Outstanding Neighbour?

That’s the question being posed by Wigan & Leigh Housing (WALH) – and they want the public to join the search party.

WALH, which manages Wigan Council’s housing stock, is inviting the many thousands of people across the Borough’s estates to nominate the person they feel fits the bill.

They are looking for people who deserve special recognition for the positive contribution they make to local life and lives.

For example it could be:

someone who takes an elderly neighbour to the shops
does the gardening for somebody who can’t
someone who takes a stand against Anti Social Behaviour?'

If you would like to nominate anybody in your area please contact me on 736216.

Nomination forms are also available from all Wigan & Leigh Housing offices. Closing date for nominations is 31st October.

Winners will be chosen from the Wigan, Leigh, Platt Bridge, Pemberton and Atherton forum areas, with the overall winner announced at the 2008 Tenants’ Conference taking place at Hindley’s Monaco Ballroom.

Thursday, 11 September 2008


In a recent letter to the Wigan Evening News regarding the withdrawal of the 620 bus service Hindley Councillor Jim Ellis states 'only Mr McCartney and Ashton councillors were consulted and had been involved in negotiations' about the withdrawal.

I can't speak for the other Ashton Councillors but this is news to me. Arriva (the bus company involved) have never contacted me about the route.As far as I am aware they just withdrew it. Furthermore, if Councillor Ellis read my blog he will see that on the 19th August I was asking people to support a resident who was opposing the withdrawal of the route.

I would like to challenge Councillor Ellis to tell me when these supposed negotiations took place and who was present at the meeting or meetings.

He is welcome to use my blog to post his answer.

Public Art in Wigan - what do you think?

Wigan Council has received a planning application for the installation of a new piece of public art at The Wiend in Wigan town centre.

‘Vertical Face’ by Rick Kirby, a 5.5m high stainless steel sculpture of a face, was the clear favourite of Wigan shoppers, who left positive comments during consultation that took place in July last year.

Funding totalling almost £80,000 was provided by Modus Properties, the developers of the Grand Arcade, as part of an agreement with the council to fund a new major piece of public art.

Rick Kirby is an acclaimed English sculptor, best known for more than 25 striking pieces of public art, including ‘Continuum’ at Alexandra Park Lake in Hastings and ‘Cross the divide’ at South Bank in London.

Speaking of the work, he said: “The face is a play on the many portrait busts of the ‘good and the glorious’ that adorn the parks and centres of every town and city throughout Britain.

“The sculpted portrait is intended to represent not a single celebrity, but all of the inhabitants of the area, the very people of Wigan. These are the people who make that place what it is today, and indeed have the power to determine what will be its future.”

To the rear of the piece, the highly reflective surface of the stainless steel blocks, set at slightly different angles, will form a huge multi-split screen which will mirror fragments of people as well as the surrounding buildings and landscape.

The artist added: “The layered face and hi-tech blocks also represent the process of regeneration, building layer upon layer a more prosperous and positive future for the landscape, economy and ultimately, and most essentially, the people.”

Wigan town centre will be the first port of call for the sculpture, which will make a tour of the borough over the coming years. It is intended that the piece will spend up to 18 months in the town centre, before being moved to another location.

Plans for the proposal are currently being assessed by council planners and can be inspected at the Environmental Services Department in Civic Buildings, New Market Street or online at (application ref A/08/71883). All comments should be made by 28 September

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Bus stop Bolton Road

As a result of a site meeting held last week with Councillors, representatives of the Council and the GMPTE it was agreed by all parties that the bus stop should remain where it is now and that the bus markings will allow parking outside the shop (see plan above) - a solution that seemed to satisfy all parties in this long running dispute.

Hilton Street/ Bolton Road junction

As a result of an accident study showing a high level of rear 'shunts' at the Hilton Street Bolton Road junction the Council has decided to lay down 40 meters of anti skid surfacing - see plan. This surfacing should prevent this sort of accidents because it gives car tyres more grip and as a result drivers will be able to pull up well before going into the back of the car they are following.

Golborne Road / Bolton Road junction

Readers of this blog will remember that there was a plan to create a pedestrian refuge at the top of Golborne Road and narrow the same road so that there would be only one lane going into Bolton Road. Some concern was expressed about this plan and as a result I held a site visit with an officer of the Council and expressed these concerns to him i.e. the narrowing of the road would create longer tail backs on Golborne Road and general safety concerns about the position of the pedestrian refuge.

The officer has promised that the will look at the proposed plan again with these in mind and will report back to me.

600/ 601 bus route

I have just attended a meeting of the Transport and Economy subgroup of the Township forum. Present at the meeting was a representative of First Buses who has promised to review the route of the 600 and 601 buses from the Queens Theatre along Old Road. I have been asking the company to re-route some of their buses along Wigan Road especially as there are so many doctors surgeries on that road

I will report the decision First Buses make in due course.

Millingford Grove - good news bad news

With the present regeneration of Ashton town centre I have been campaigning for the upgrading of Millingford Grove which I believe should be an integral part of any Ashton town centre improvement for the following reasons:

1. This road is in the middle of Ashton the third biggest township in the borough and is in a terrible state of repair.

2. The Council has just spent hundreds of thousands of pounds in Ashton town centre in order to improve the appearance of the town centre. Ian McCartney has launched a campaign Ashton Forward which aims to regenerate the town centre. This road does nothing to enhance the appearance of the centre - in fact the opposite. To adopt this road would complement the good work that has been, and hopefully will be done in the town to attract inward investment and to make it a thriving centre

The good news was that on 21st August 2008 the Cabinet considered Millingford Grove for reconstruction works as part of the Council's private street works strategy. It scored well against the assessment criteria. The bad news was that it was the view of Cabinet that Pennington Avenue, Leigh was the street that best met the Council's aspirations.

It was very encouraging that Millingford Grove was in the top three of streets in the whole of the Borough to be considered for reconstruction and I will continue to press for it to be upgraded.